Sopes are thick, corn tortillas with raised edges that are topped with different ingredients, depending on the region. Tapatío is the word Mexicans use to refer to anything from Guadalajara, and this version is layered with black turtle beans, Mexican-style chorizo and salsa verde. It is quite a simple dish, but requires practice to make like a local, since you need to shape the sopes while they’re hot.
- 200 g (2 cups) masa (maize) flour (see Note)
- vegetable oil, to shallow-fry
- salsa verde (see Note), queso fresco (see Note) or mild, crumbly Australian feta and shredded iceberg lettuce, to serve
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 jalapeño or long green chilli
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 500 g minced lean pork
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 200 g (1 cup) dried black turtle beans (see Note), soaked overnight
- ½ onion
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time overnight
Resting time 1 hour
To make Mexican-style chorizo, place 1 onion, garlic, jalapeño, oregano, cumin and dried thyme in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper, then process until smooth. Add half the pork, pulsing a few times, then add remaining pork, processing to combine. Transfer mixture to a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight to marinate.
To make frijoles negros, drain beans and place in a saucepan over medium heat with onion, bay leaf and 2 tsp salt. Cover with cold water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 1½ hours or until very soft. Drain and cool.
Meanwhile, sift flour and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Make a well in centre, then pour in 250 ml water. Using your hands, work mixture for 2 minutes or until just coming together; you should be able to create a ball without any mixture sticking to your hands. If too sticky, add a little more flour. Divide mixture into 12 balls. Using your hands, flatten each ball into an 8 cm round.
Fill a large, non-stick frying pan 2cm full with vegetable oil and heat over medium–high heat. When oil is hot, cook sopes, in batches, for 2 minutes each side or until the edges are crisp and the base is soft – they will still be raw in the centre. Working quickly, transfer the sopes to a plate and pinch along each edge to create a 5 mm raised ridge. Set aside to dry for 1 hour. Reserve the frying pan with oil to re-fry sopes later.
Meanwhile, to continue making chorizo, heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add remaining onion and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until softened. Add the pork mixture and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for 7 minutes or until browned all over. Season, transfer to a plate and cover. Wipe pan clean.
To continue making frijoles negros, heat oil in same frying pan over medium heat. Add reserved beans and cook, stirring, for 8 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and season.
Reheat reserved oil in reserved frying pan over medium heat. When oil is hot, fry the sopes for 2 minutes each side or until golden. Drain on paper towel.
Top sopes with frijoles negros, Mexican-style chorizo, salsa verde, queso fresco and lettuce, and serve immediately.
• Masa (maize) flour is a fine flour made from corn. It is from select delis and South and Central American food shops.
• Mexican salsa verde is made with tomatillos. It is available from Mexican food shops.
• Queso fresco is a mild, fresh cheese that is made from cow’s milk. It is available from select greengrocers and cheese shops, plus Mexican food shops.
• Black turtle beans are available from Asian food shops and specialist food shops.
Photography by Mark Roper.